On a scientific basis, Teflon is a member of a family of chemicals called "perfluorochemicals" (PFCs). Among the most coveted qualities of this chemical product is that Teflon can be to nearly anything to make it non-adhesive - shit won't stick to it. Odds are when you made your eggs or hash browns for breakfast, you fried them up in a pan coated with Teflon. Legendary New York mobster John Gotti earned the nickname "Teflon Don" because no matter how hard the government tried, they could never make a charge stick to him. Like Kleenex, the word has evolved beyond a brand name into generic use in everyday language, now largely synonymous with being "slick" in general. Were he to cut a new album today, they might just call Ricky Walters "Tef Def" instead of Slick Rick.
Okay that last one is a stretch, but it's not surprising that a thuggin' and buggin' rap clique like M.O.P. would have a member named Teflon. Right from the jump off, you get the impression he must be one slippery cat. "My Will" is the compact disc coated with Teflon, a largely overlooked 1997 release on Relativity Records. At one time Relativity had the potential to be a hip-hop powerhouse. Fat Joe, Common Sense, M.O.P., The Beatnuts and even Three 6 Mafia have all been members of this label. That's past tense of course, because sooner or later any dope artist on Relativity has gotten fed up with their inability to promote or market product properly. Only Wild Pitch and Fresh Records could give them a run for greatness lost. If they had played their cards differently, they'd be discussed in the same breath as Def Jam.
Teflon deserves better than that. You wouldn't be down with the Mash Out Posse without being one of rap's hardest artists, and Teflon is like Billy Danze and Lil' Fame's long lost brother. Vocally he's as aggressive and grimy as Sticky Fingaz. Verbally he knows when to flip a punchline at the right time for impact. Roll these characteristics up into one fat blunt and light it with the hunger for more, and Teflon produces a nice long buzz. Why dip it wet and get fucked up when you can put "My Will" in your player and get the aural equivalent? Right from the Big Jaz produced "Gotta get Ova" the shit is hot to Tef:
"Wreck the scales at The Source and get five mics, no problem
The first show I go to I blow
Collect my dough in stacks, my name's on the map
Now, we in the spotlight
Got hype raps, perhaps it's just in my genes to rock mics
From rags to riches, lifestyle switches
Firing Squad, worked hard for a while to get this
Now, we on a roll in full control, behold
Destiny's ours to unfold"
You know it's right when the backdrop sparkles with wind chimes, the bass groove is fat and funky, and the raspy voiced Teflon hits with his Masta Ace style "on again off again" rap flow. Of course it wouldn't be right for Tef to not look out for his peoples, so M.O.P. produce and shine on the track "Rawness." Mash Out Posse comes just as hard as ever but the real surprise here is that Teflon completely usurps them and steals the spotlight:
"I hit the public with a freestyle, rock them, left my mark
Staked my claim up in this here game, Fame gave me the start
Gettin hype yo, put it in nitro, goin psycho on the low
A lot of y'all niggaz predicted that I might blow
Whoever heard of me know I give tracks, 3rd degree burns
Give me a turn to earn mine, hurt 'em internally
Acapella, to keep it locked forever for this cheese
Now Jay-Z what if they don't freeze, then I'ma Roc-A-Fella"
While one might expect a Teflon album to be nothing but pure snaps and braggadociousness, Teflon slips away from the stereotype and comes up with some tracks that flex concepts and tell mad stories. A good example is the Jahdan-Bigas Gord produced "Shit Happens," where Teflon raps with wifey over the phone live from a New York State correctional facility. In the track Tef is feeling a little fexed about the lack of support his boo gives him while in the penile, and isn't afraid to tell her so:
"I'm sayin hon, me and you is done
Just don't have none of them crab niggaz playin dad with my son
Tell him that I love him and I miss him
Just didn't want him havin to witness his pops locked in the system
Give me a hot second, I'm checkin my watch
Step inside a tear, cause the last nigga that violated here they kept him
I guess all things happen for a reason
When I needed you most, you played high post and kept breezin
Only for me to be in front of your eyes in no time at all
Surprise, how fast the time flies
You can't play both sides from in-between
Honey knock it off, wake up out your dreams
What I mean is that's the type of shit, fools do
I guess things happen the way that they do, because of bitches like you"
Gord's track accents the mood perfectly, setting the right somber tone but not distracting attention away from Teflon's powerful delivery. On the strength of that delivery alone Teflon can carry "My Will" from start to finish. Even over relatively cliche music like Uni's bat for "Game of Life" it's the passionate way Tef attacks the microphone that keeps things hot. One thing's for sure - Tef can recognize when someone who claims to be fam is more slippery than his name:
"Don't be no ass kid, it's drastic
Cause the way another brother play'll put you in a casket
Nowadays, street motto is take the bottle from a young son
Give him a gun and watch him turn to desperado
We in the last days
And the Revelation's on the last page
Slowly we burn - the world is the ashtray
We cast away our former plans, we on the block now
Scramblin with our mans up on the corner, slingin rocks now
No time to think about the past, it's all about the cash
No matter who ass might gotta get blast
We all about the bread up in the end
You get set up and wet up by the same niggaz you used to call your friend"
Even though you might be tempted to pigeonhole Teflon as just another thugged out rapper who got over thanks to his M.O.P. connections, the truth is far different. While this 1997 release may be his only album on the market, it's definitely worth trying to track down at your local trading post or even via some internet shit like eBay. It's surprising more people didn't jump on Tef's bandwagon due to his First Family membership, but as usual when it comes to Relativity Records shoddy salesmanship is as much or more to blame than the artist. Don't make the same mistake they did and left Teflon slip away - "My Will" is an album worth hanging on to.
Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
Originally posted: August 3, 2004